School Lead Contamination Remains a Concern in California

Drinking fountainAfter reports of problems with lead contamination of water at schools around California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed abill in October of 2017 meant to address the problem.

The measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, mandates that every school test one to five water outlets for the presence of lead. If any of the tests shows over 15 parts of lead per billion, the parents or guardians of students must be notified. Young people exposed to lead can suffer permanent problems – sometimes extreme – with cognitive development and behavior.

Given the attention paid to the national scandal over dangerous water in Flint, Michigan, the state law came as a relief to concerned parents, school officials and health agencies. But a comprehensive new analysis by the EdSource website suggests this relief may be premature.

The key issue is whether the 15 parts per billion standard, which is recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is strict enough to protect students’ health. The American Academy of Pediatrics considers that standard to be so weak that it puts young people at risk. The academy calls for a maximum of 1 parts per billion.

Pediatricians say federal standard is risky

“We know there is no safe lead level,” Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health, told EdSource. “Schools ought to work to remove that source of lead for these kids.”

Experts were also sharply critical of the California law because it didn’t require all sources of water to be tested at every school. While sometimes lead contamination is system-wide – as seen in large parts of Flint in recent years – a single corroded pipe, faucet or other plumbing fixture can be responsible for lead contamination.

Gonzalez Fletcher told EdSource she supports strengthening the law and said the 15-parts-per-billion standard was agreed on to gain enough support so her bill would pass. The California School Boards Association worried that a tougher standard could be financially onerous for school districts.

The CSBA’s concerns may seem dubious, given that schools have enjoyed large increases in funding in recent years, thanks to a strong economy and Proposition 98 – a 1988 state law mandating that public education get roughly 40 percent of state revenue. But every school district is likely to face at least one and more likely two fiscal crises in coming years.

School districts face fiscal double-whammy

The first is the immense cost of the 2014 California State Teachers’ Retirement System bailout. The great majority of the cost – 70 percent – is borne by districts, which face a phased-in increase of CalSTRS contributions, going from 8.25 percent of pay in 2013-14 to 19.1 percent in 2020-21. In many districts, increased state funding due to healthy revenue gains has been largely used for these new pension bills. By 2020-21, when the final increase takes effect, most school districts are likely to have compensation costs eating up 90 percent or more of their general operating budgets.

The second crisis is not an absolute certainty, just highly likely. That crisis is a recession that sends state revenue plunging. Because California is so reliant on the income taxes paid by the very wealthy, the Great Recession a decade ago prompted a 20 percent drop in revenue and a corresponding reduction in state funding for public education.

That is why in recent years that Gov. Brown worked so hard to get the Legislature to strongly increase state fiscal reserves. By summer 2019, the state could have $13.5 billion in hand, according to an analysis earlier this year. But given that Brown has warned that a recession could wipe out $55 billion in revenue over a three-year span, these “rainy day” funds won’t go that far in helping schools.

Against this backdrop, the next governor, state lawmakers and education officials face a difficult calculus next year: how tight a standard for lead in schools are they willing to set with such a gloomy budget picture.

In the last testing results made available by the state, 150 schools – or 4 percent of those surveyed – had one or more more water outlets with lead levels over 15 parts per billion. Just under 25 percent of schools had lead levels over 5 parts per billion – hinting at how costly it would be if the state went to a tougher standard.

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Education update: Votes coming on teacher tenure, for-profit charters, other key bills

School educationBetween now and July 21, when they take a month off, state legislators will have to decide the fate of bills that passed one chamber of the Legislature and await action in the other. Among those are key education bills that would lengthen teacher probation periods, require more accounting for spending under the Local Control Funding Formula, mandate a later start time for middle and high schools and further restrict student suspensions. What follows is a summary of the bills EdSource is following.

Funding formula transparency

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires that school districts provide data on state and federal spending by school in more detail than before. AB 1321, by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, would go further, requiring a school-by-school breakdown of state spending by the Local Control Funding Formula’s component parts: base, supplemental and concentration funding. The latter two components are allocated to a district based on the proportion of English learners and low-income, homeless and foster children enrolled.

Why it’s important: Weber and student advocacy groups argue the public needs to know if schools with large proportions of high-needs students are getting money intended to go to them. In some districts, that’s clear. In most, it is not. Gov. Jerry Brown and school management groups counter that detailing every dollar spent would add accounting expenses without much benefit — and divert focus from the funding formula’s overriding goal of figuring out how to improve outcomes for underserved students. They argue that it’s premature to change the funding law.

Status: The bill passed the Assembly unanimously. Brown is expected to fight the bill as it moves through the Senate — and may veto it.

Teacher tenure

The probationary period for new teachers in most states is three years or longer. In California, it’s technically two years, though realistically 18 months, since the deadline for notifying teachers in the second year is March 15. AB 1220, by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, would give districts the option of extending probation a third year in instances in which they believe teachers could benefit from more supervision.

Why it’s important: Weber and sponsoring groups argue that districts often let go promising teachers go rather than grant them lifetime due-process protections known as tenure. Districts would make wiser hiring decisions with more time, they say. The California Teachers Association responds that a longer probationary period would send a negative message to potential teachers, compounding the state’s teacher shortage. The CTA wants due-process rights for probationary teachers in exchange for another year of probation. See earlier EdSource coverage.

Status: The Assembly Appropriations Committee weakened provisions of the bill; Weber must decide whether to add them back in the Senate. Senate Education Committee will hear the bill July 12.

Teacher shortage

The 2017-18 state budget includes $30 million to alleviate the state’s teacher shortage. Authors of two key proposals that were not funded are moving forward to establish the programs through two bills, in hopes that it will be easier to fund them once they become law. AB 12171, by Raul Bocanegra, D-San Fernando, would create the California Teacher Corps, a teacher residency program in which new teachers would work under a mentor teacher and receive a stipend in exchange for working at least four years in a high-need field, such as special education. AB 169, by Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, would establish Golden State Teacher Grants, which would provide $20,000 stipends to new teachers who also agree to teach four years in a field facing a shortage.

Why it’s important: California is facing a teacher shortage in high-cost regions, like the Bay Area, and in specific fields, including science, math, special education and bilingual programs. The shortage is worse in urban schools serving low-income students.

Status: Both bills received overwhelming support in the Assembly. AB 1217 passed the Senate Education Committee on June 28; AB 169 awaits a hearing.

Suspensions for willful defiance

This fall, California will begin evaluating schools on their progress in lowering student suspension rates. SB 607, by Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland, renews a law due to sunset on July 1, 2018 that removed “willful defiance,” a term with no specific definition, as a justification for suspending students in kindergarten through 3rd grade or for expelling students in kindergarten through high school. Skinner’s law extends the ban to kindergarten through 5th grade and proposes a temporary ban, through July 1, 2023, on willful defiance suspensions in 6th through 12th grades.

Why it’s important: Willful defiance suspensions accounted for more than 50 percent of all suspensions before the current law was passed. Advocates of alternative approaches note that suspensions for willful defiance, which rely on a school official’s interpretation, have been issued for minor offenses such as laughing, and are far more likely to involve African American students than students of other racial or ethnic backgrounds. But nearly 9 in 10 teachers surveyed by the California Teachers Association in 2016 said they need training and more access to school mental health providers if they are going to successfully cut back on disciplinary referrals. The California School Boards Association is asking that the bill be amended to allow suspensions for disruptive or defiant behavior in high school.

Status: Passed the Assembly and heading for a floor vote in the Senate.

Meal shaming

Across the nation, and in many California districts, students who don’t have money to pay for subsidized lunches are given a token meal, like a cup of milk and a piece of fruit, or, in some high schools, nothing at all. Sometimes, their hand is stamped in front of their peers in line, as a reminder to get their parents to pay on time. SB 250, by Robert Hertzberg, D-LA, would establish a uniform, statewide policy to ensure that a pupil whose parent or guardian has unpaid meal fees is served a full meal and is not shamed or treated differently than a pupil who is paid up.

Why it’s important: Teachers agree that students who are hungry can’t concentrate on their work; recent research from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that student test scores in California rose with good quality school lunches.

Status: The bill passed the Senate unanimously and the Assembly Education Committee 6-0. It will move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

English learner reclassification

Researchers and advocates for English learners agree that determining when English learners are proficient in English and no longer need language assistance needs to be uniform — but are fighting over how to do this. SB 463, by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would standardize the four current reclassification criteria: performance on the state assessment of English language proficiency; evaluation by teachers; consultation with parents; and the mastery of basic skills, comparable to English-only students, on the Smarter Balanced assessment. Researchers and academicians want results on the new English language fluency test, called ELPAC, to be the primary factor; the test will debut in 2018.

Why it’s important: A 2014 study found that most districts adopt more rigorous, often subjective criteria for determining English proficiency, and a delay in reclassification can deny English learners access to advanced high school and college prep courses. Bill proponents worry that premature reclassification will deny English learners needed supports. See earlier EdSource coverage.

Status: The bill passed the Assembly unanimously and will be heard by the Assembly Education Committee.

Reserve cap

Ever since Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to a deal with the California Teachers Association three years ago that places a cap on the amount that school districts can keep in reserve for emergencies, the California School Boards Association has been trying to get rid of it. Neither of two bills in play would do that, but both would ease the restrictions that districts object to. AB 325 by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, would keep the limits, about 6 percent of the size of the budget for an average district, but set new, tighter preconditions on when they would go into effect. SB 751, by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, which the school boards association prefers, would exempt most small districts and raise the cap to 17 percent for others.

Why it’s important: That depends on who you ask. The CTA says much is being made over nothing, since the conditions triggering the reserve cap are still years away. Districts say there should be no cap at all under local control, and Brown, the patron of the Local Control Funding Formula, had no business imposing it. See earlier EdSource coverage.

Status: Talks continue on a compromise. If there’s a deal, it will likely come at the end of the summer. Whether Brown will get involved is an open question.

Ban on for-profit charter schools

AB 406, by Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, would prohibit the creation of for-profit charter schools after Jan. 1, 2019.

Why it’s important: There are only six for-profit charters in California. The bill’s author said he was motivated when he learned that a for-profit company obtained millions in taxpayer funds while operating K-12 online academies that graduate less than half of their high school students. The company also allegedly counted students as present for a school day even if they were logged on for as little as a minute. The company last year reached a $168.5 million settlement with the state on those allegations. McCarty said the bill will end the privatization of public education and puts student success ahead of corporate profits. The bill’s critics say the legislation is really designed to curb the charter school movement. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2015. He said the bill could be interpreted to restrict the ability of nonprofit charter schools to continue using for-profit vendors.

Status: The state Assembly approved the bill in May. The state Senate education committee is now reviewing the legislation.

Restrictions on charter school expulsions and suspensions

AB 1360, by Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would create new regulations that charter schools would have to follow when attempting to suspend or expel students. It also prohibits charter schools from requiring parents to volunteer for school activities.

Why it’s important: There has been push for all public schools to lower suspension rates, which are disproportionately high for African-American and Latino students. Charter school critics claim that some schools use suspension policies to push out low-performing students. Charter school supporters say the bill infringes on their state-mandated freedom. The California Charter Schools Association says its members should have the latitude to create their suspension and expulsion policies.

Status: The state Assembly approved the bill in May. The state Senate’s education committee is now reviewing the bill.

Late school start

SB 328, by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, would require middle and high schools to start their regular school days no earlier than 8:30 a.m. by July 1, 2020, except for those in rural school districts that obtain waivers from the state Board of Education to delay implementation for at least two years. The requirement would not apply to so-called “zero period” classes offered at some secondary schools as extra periods before the regular school day begins. It could require the state to reimburse districts for mandated costs.

Why it’s important:  It is based on recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on teenagers. It is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, California State PTA, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, California Federation of Teachers, California Sleep Society and several hospitals, school districts and student advocacy groups.  If adopted, California would be the first state to mandate a later start. The bill could improve attendance rates and graduation rates and reduce tardiness, according to a Senate analysis. However, the analysis also cited “potential unintended impacts” on working and single parents who may not be able to adjust their schedules, districts’ home-to-school transportation costs, extracurricular activities, and before and after-school programs. The California School Boards Association and California Teachers Association oppose the bill.

Status: Passed in the Senate, with 23 members voting in favor, 13 voting against and two not voting. It is scheduled for a July 12 hearing in the Assembly Committee on Education.

Sanctuary state

Senate Bill 54, by State Senate President pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), would prohibit local police and other authorities — including those who work at schools — from cooperating with federal immigration agents without a warrant.

Why it’s important: Immigrants make up 30 percent of California’s population, and half of the state’s children have at least one parent who is foreign-born, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. De León said the bill would bolster trust between immigrant communities and state agencies, and lead to improvements in public safety, school attendance and public health. Dozens of cities and school districts around California have already declared themselves safe havens or sanctuaries, offering varying degrees of protections for immigrants. The Trump Administration has threatened to withhold grants for so-called sanctuary cities and states, saying they hinder the federal government’s ability to enforce immigration laws. Some California county sheriffs have also opposed the bill, saying they can’t afford to lose federal grants and should have the flexibility to cooperate with federal immigration agents in certain situations. Other law enforcement officials, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, are supporting the bill. In April, a federal judge sided with two California counties that had sued the Trump Administration over its threat to withhold funding.

Status: The bill passed the State Senate on April 3 by a vote of 27-12. It’s currently under review with the Assembly judiciary committee.

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Advancing Bill Targets Religious Schools

shocked-kid-apCalifornia legislators could soon wipe out the social and cultural exemptions afforded to state religious schools that they depend upon for their identity.

Senate Bill 1146, now moving through committee in the Assembly, “aims to include all colleges and universities receiving state financial assistance together with students receiving state financial aid under the authority of the Equity in Higher Education Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex,” as Christianity Today noted. “The bill, authored by state Senator Ricardo Lara, was passed by the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee with an 8-2 vote and is now with the Committee on the Judiciary.”

Instant controversy

Intentionally or not, Lara poked a hornet’s nest. “The bill has created a storm of controversy in the Legislature,” the Los Angeles Times observed. “It was approved by a sharply divided state Senate last month,” with critics charging that its language was overbroad, vague and out of sync with the First Amendment’s protections on freedom of association and religious practice. “The bill would limit conscience protections to only those schools that prepare students for ministry, teach theology or prepare students for other pastoral careers,” charged Matt Cover at OpportunityLives. “If a school tried to maintain its religious identity, it could be faced with crippling lawsuits, forcing schools to make the choice between shutting down or eliminating their religious nature, depriving their students the opportunity of an education that incorporates their religious views alongside academic learning.”

Lara, D-Bell Gardens, seemed somewhat taken aback by the firestorm. The state senator “said it is not his intent to interfere with what is taught in the classroom or requirements that students attend chapel twice a week, and that he is willing to consider changes in his bill to address some concerns,” according to the Times, although he added “he is adamant that religious universities should be subject to some of the anti-discrimination laws that apply to public colleges.”

Stark choices

In-state religious leaders responded with furor — partly because of how close to the state the bill would draw faith-based schools, and partly because of how far away they would be pushed if they tried not to comply. “The bill effectively eliminates the religious exemption under current law that allows Christian colleges and universities to operate in accordance with their beliefs, including the freedom to hire only Christian faculty and staff,” wrote Kurt Krueger, president of Concordia University Irvine. “If passed without amendments, the new law would also very likely disqualify students attending California Christian colleges and universities from eligibility for Cal Grants, a key state-level student aid program.”

Lara’s bill and its implications also quickly resonated nationwide. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association president Rev. Franklin Graham tore into the proposal on Facebook, portraying it as the spear tip of a nationwide “anti-Christian movement.”

“Now the California state Legislature wants to force Christian Universities like Biola University to conform to secular standards,” he wrote. “In effect, we would no longer have Christian universities in this state — and unfortunately this secularism is like an evil plague that spreads.”

Following federal cues

Biola has become something of a symbol of the legal front in the culture war around faith and sexual politics. “[I]n response to signals from the federal government that transgender K-12 students should be protected under anti-discrimination laws,” EdSource recalled, “Biola decided to apply for a religious exemption that would give the university the right to expel transgender students and refuse to admit, house or accommodate them, without jeopardizing federal funding.” Under current law, California affords “a blanket exemption to the anti-discrimination provisions of the Equity in Higher Education Act to all colleges that are ‘controlled by a religious organization,’” as the site added. SB1146 would take away that exemption, prohibiting any form of restriction on “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in admissions, housing and campus activities.”

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What’s the True Impact of California’s High School Exit Exam

Standardized TestAs the state looks to replace the California High School Exit Exam with a new version, or eliminate it altogether as a graduation requirement, it remains difficult to find much consensus among educators, researchers and advocates regarding the legacy of the test for California.

Gov. Brown last week signed legislation that exempted students from the graduating class of 2015 from having to take the test in response to a snafu that left thousands of seniors without the ability to take the test several more times as permitted under state law. Still to be resolved is the bigger issue of the fate of the test itself, which may be partly determined by assessing its impact since it became a graduation requirement nearly a decade ago.

The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) debuted in 2001 as an effort aimed at ensuring every student graduated from high school with basic skills and, as the California Department of Education spelled out, “to identify students who are not developing skills that are essential for life after high school.”

Nearly 5 million students have taken the test since then. A majority of students passed on their first try, with an increasing number each year that the test has been administered.

Some, however, have struggled through multiple attempts before successfully completing it. About 249,000 students have failed the test since it became a graduation requirement in 2006.

Supporters of the exit exam say the exam has raised the bar for graduation by encouraging students to work harder and pressured schools to increase their efforts to close the achievement gap.

Certificate of Achievement awarded to Prospect High student Arlene Holmes instead of diploma because she didn't pass the California High School Exit Exam.

TIFFANY LEW/EDSOURCE TODAY Certificate of Achievement awarded to Prospect High student Arlene Holmes instead of diploma because she didn’t pass the California High School Exit Exam.

Opponents argue that the test has discouraged some low-achieving students from staying in school and that it disproportionately punished low-income children and English learners who were unable to pass the test.

The research the state commissioned each year to evaluate the exit exam was generally positive about its impact, but other research reports were more critical. (For an overview of the research, see the end of this article.)

After an extended debate on the issue, Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation in 1999 to create the exit exam as a condition for students to receive a high school diploma. At the time, California joined a growing number of states that had such a requirement. By 2002, 24 states administered exit exams. Ten years later that number had grown to 26.

At the time he signed the law, Davis said the exam would add value to a diploma by ensuring students showed competency in math, reading and writing before they finished high school.

Students were tested on their aptitude in 10th-grade English and algebra, which students typically took between the 8th and 10th grade. Students could first take the test as sophomores, and if they didn’t pass, they could take it up to six more times before the end of their senior year. Even if they had not passed it by then, they could also take the exam up to three times in the year after their senior year and be awarded a diploma if they eventually passed.

About 91 percent of students in the class of 2006 passed by the end of their senior year, including 67 percent who passed on their first try as sophomores. By 2014, about 95.5 percent of seniors passed, including 90 percent who passed on their first try as sophomores.The test was first administered to freshman students in 2001, and they were required to pass it before they graduated in 2004. By 2002, only four in 10 students from the class of 2004 had passed the test, prompting lawmakers to postpone it as a graduation requirement another two years.

But given California’s size, even a small percentage of students failing the tests translates into large numbers of actual students. Last year, for example, 4.5 percent of high school students couldn’t pass the test by the end of their senior year. That amounts to nearly 20,000 seniors.

Former state Superintendent Jack O’Connell authored the legislation that created the exit exam when he was a state senator in 1999.

“I didn’t want a high school diploma to only reflect a certification of seat time,” O’Connell, who served as state superintendent from 2003 to 2011, said in a recent interview. “It should mean something much more. It should reflect the education we are delivering to our students.”

O’Connell, now a partner at Capitol Advisors Group, a Sacramento-based consulting firm, said the exam helped educators better target which students needed the most support by funneling them into intervention programs that helped improve their overall academic success.

“If you talk with folks in the field, this is one of the most significant reforms in high school they’ve seen,” he said.

The former state superintendent said results that show a higher rate of students from at-risk groups passing the test by 2014 compared to 2006 proves the exit exam accomplished one of its biggest goals.

“I didn’t want a high school diploma to only reflect a certification of seat time. It should mean something much more,” said former State Superintendent Jack O’Connell.

In 2006, about 86 percent of low-income students, 73 percent of English learners, 85 percent of Latino students and 84 percent of black students passed by the end of their senior year. By 2014, about 94 percent of low-income students, 82 percent of English learners, 94 percent of Latinos and 92 percent of black students passed.

“This exam helped close the achievement gap,” he said.

O’Connell said he now supports Senate Bill 172, which proposes to suspend the exit exam through 2017­-18 to give the state time to decide whether a new test should be administered that is aligned with the Common Core standards.

“It was never intended to go on indefinitely,” he said. “Once Common Core came in, I knew it would be the end for an exam that’s based on California’s previous state standards.”


Critics have said there is little evidence the exam alone helped boost achievement of at-risk students. Some have said that other accountability systems implemented at the same time, including the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the state’s Academic Performance Index, contributed more to pressuring schools to improve achievement among all student groups. Instead, critics said, there is significant evidence the exit exam prevented many English learners, minority and low-income students from earning a high school diploma.

Arturo González, an attorney with the San Francisco law firm of Morrison & Foerster, filed a lawsuit in 2006 on behalf of a group of students from Richmond who sued the state in Valenzuela v. O’Connell, claiming poor and minority students were at a disadvantage because of sub-par teachers and resources in low-performing schools.

“This was a worthless exam,” González said. “The only thing it did was deny deserving students a diploma. In my view, it was more a political move by educators to show they were doing something.”

An Alameda County Superior Court judge in May of 2006 ruled that the exit exam could not be used to deny students a high school diploma, just three months after the lawsuit was filed. But the state Supreme Court reinstated the exam a few weeks later after the state appealed the lower court’s ruling.

González said the fact that the vast majority of students failing the exit exam are low-income, English learners, Latinos and blacks proves the assessment is flawed. Of the 19,679 students from the class of 2014 who did not pass by the end of their senior year, 68 percent were Latino, 49 percent were English learners and 77 percent were low-income, according to state Department of Education figures. (Some of these students fit into multiple categories.)

González said that if the state really wanted to improve achievement among at-risk students, it should have invested the millions of dollars it cost to create and implement the test on more AP courses, teacher training, after-school programs and tutoring in schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods.


Students at many school districts across the state who met all other graduation requirements except for the exit exam have instead been awarded certificates of completion, a diploma-like document that looks like a high school diploma and states that the student met all of their individual district’s graduation requirements. But the document does not carry the same weight as an actual diploma when applying to college or for jobs. It is not known how many districts offer certificates of completion in lieu of a high school diploma because the state does not track those numbers.

Most four-year colleges, including the University of California and the California State University systems, decide whether to admit applicants with certificates of completion on a case-by-case basis. Students without diplomas in districts that chose not to award certificates of completion are often encouraged to enroll in community colleges, which don’t require diplomas, or work toward passing the General Educational Development test, or GED, a high school equivalency exam.

“I’ve had so many doors of opportunity slammed in my face for not having my diploma,” said Telesis Radford, who could not pass the exam before the end of her senior year.

Arlene Holmes received her certificate of completion in 2012 from Prospect High School in Pleasant Hill in Alameda County. Holmes easily passed the English portion, she said. But the math proved too difficult.

Holmes, now 21, said not earning a diploma prevented her from enrolling in a vocational nursing program and other trade schools.“It is ridiculous how I actually worked extremely hard to even finish high school back in 2012,” she said.

“I would have done a lot more with college and jobs because I am very capable,” she said. Holmes has received job offers, but was later told by human resource departments that they couldn’t hire her until she’s earned a diploma.

Telesis Radford received a certificate of completion from Santa Rosa High School in 2006 after failing the math section by just a few points.

“It was a sad and devastating day for me when I learned I wouldn’t receive my high school diploma,” Radford said. “I’ve had so many doors of opportunity slammed in my face for not having my diploma.”

Radford, now 27, was unable to enroll in a medical technician program, where she hoped to earn a phlebotomy license, which would allow her to work in a clinic or hospital drawing blood from patients.

“If I had my diploma, I would be in the medical field, and I would not be struggling like I am today to achieve and accomplish my dreams,” said Radford, who currently works as an administrative coordinator for the American Red Cross.

Lucinda Pueblos, assistant superintendent for K-12 performance and culture in Santa Ana Unified, said she has “mixed emotions” about the exit exam. Pueblos previously served as principal at Century High School, which also awarded certificates of completion.

While the exam overall set minimal expectations for students, it was still difficult for new English learners to pass the English section, she said. “It really did present a barrier for a lot of students.”

When the exit exam started, educators had to place a stronger focus on reading, writing and algebra in middle school in preparation for the test, said Pueblos, who also previously worked as a middle school principal. The pass rates improved, as students were better prepared.

She said the exam achieved its goal. “We were at least able to say they are at an 8th-grade level when they graduate,” she said.

Education Trust-West, an advocacy group for minority and low-income students, has generally supported the exit exam as another tool that helps increase the focus on struggling students.

“It prevented these students from being invisible,” said Carrie Hahnel, director of research and policy analysis at Education Trust-West. “It put responsibility and pressure on the system to help students.”

Hahnel said the yearly exam scores helped highlight the achievement gap for educators and policy makers. “The exam provided a lot of good data,” she said. “It also made the point that a high school diploma has to mean something, that you need these basic skills for college and careers.”


Human Resources Research Organization, or HumRRO, an independent evaluator, was commissioned by the state to review results of the exit exam each year since the program began. Its reports have generally been favorable, linking increased graduation rates and overall academic proficiency to the exit exam. The research group concluded in its most recent report in November 2014 that, “over fifteen years, we have seen test scores rise overall and for demographic groups defined by race/ethnicity and economic status. Graduation rates climbed, dropout rates declined, and successful participation in college entrance exams and Advanced Placement exams rose.”

HumRRO also reported that the exam has prompted schools across the state to create remedial opportunities for students who needed help passing it.

“Available evidence suggests that students have worked hard to meet the current (exit exam) requirement and that teachers have used class time to help them do so,” according to HumRRO’s latest report.

The report concluded that a higher rate of high school students are enrolling in advanced math courses, including geometry, intermediate algebra and calculus, as a result of the exit exam’s focus on algebra proficiency.

Still, HumRRO acknowledged that although scores for some minority groups, low-income students and English learners continue to improve, these students continue to lag significantly behind their peers.

2009 study by Stanford University professor Sean Reardon and UC Davis professor Michal Kurlaender concluded that the exit exam “has had no positive effects on students’ academic skills. Students subject to the (exam) requirement – particularly low-achieving students whom the exam might have motivated to work harder in school – learned no more between 10th and 11th grade than similar students in the previous cohort who were not subject to the requirement.”

The study compared 11th-grade scores on California Standards Tests, or CSTs, across years when the exit exam was a graduation requirement with years when it was not. On average, CST scores were slightly lower among students subject to the exit exam as a graduation requirement, according to the study. It also made the case that graduation rates of minority students who were struggling academically declined as a result of them failing the test – far more than the graduation rates of white students:

“The graduation rate for minority students in the bottom achievement quartile declined by 15 to 19 percentage points after the introduction of the exit exam requirement, while the graduation rate for similar white students declined by only 1 percentage point. The analyses further suggest that the disproportionate effects of the CAHSEE requirement on graduation rates are due to large racial and gender differences in CAHSEE passing rates among students with the same level of achievement.”

Reardon and Kurlaender said at the time that since the exam wasn’t working as it was intended, the state should consider eliminating it as a graduation requirement.

The Public Policy Institute of California released a study in 2008 that used the grades, test scores and behavior of 4th graders to reliably predict whether students would pass the exit exam. The study concluded the best way to ensure more students pass was to target intervention programs well before students begin high school. The study did not address the effectiveness of the exit exam.

Other studies over the years on exit exams nationally, including those from the Center on Education Policy and the Education Commission of the States, have also reported that the exams are most effective when states provide enough support to help struggling students eventually pass.

Originally published by

EdSource Today reporter Sarah Tully contributed to this report.

Pair of Federal Lawsuits Could Undo CTA’s Dominance.

brochure04_MyCTAThe U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in the fall. The 2013 lawsuit on behalf of Orange County teacher Rebecca Friedrichs, nine other teachers, and a professional association of Christian educators, takes aim at the constitutionality of California’s “agency shop” law, which forces public-school educators to pay dues to a teachers’ union, whether they want to or not. Friedrichs is now front-and-center in a concerted legal effort to constrain the outsize political influence of teachers’ unions in California and around the United States. “This case is about the right of individuals to decide for themselves whether to join and pay dues to an organization that purports to speak on their behalf,” said Terry Pell, president of the Washington D.C.-based Center for Individual Rights, the public-interest law firm that is representing Friedrichs. “We are seeking the end of compulsory union dues across the nation on the basis of the free-speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

Earlier this year, the teachers’ unions were hit with yet another lawsuit challenging the current compulsory dues-paying mandate. StudentsFirst, the Sacramento-based activist group founded by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, filed Bain v. California Teachers Association, et al. in federal district court in April on behalf of four CTA members. The case challenges a union rule regarding members who refuse to pay the political portion of their dues. While teachers don’t have to join a union as a condition of employment in California, they must pay dues to the union anyway. Most join and pay the full share, which typically runs over $1,000 a year. But according to the CTA, about 29,000 — or 10 percent — of its active teachers opt out of paying the political or “non-chargeable” part, which brings their yearly expenditure down to around $600. However, to become “agency fee payers,” those teachers must resign from the union and relinquish many perks they had as full dues-paying members.

Unlike the plaintiffs in Friedrichs, the Bain teachers want to remain in the union. But they don’t think they should be effectively forced out of it and lose certain benefits because they’re unwilling to fund the leadership’s political agenda. Some teachers object that union political spending goes in one direction only: leftward. CTA spends millions each year on controversial, non-education-related liberal causes, such as establishing a single-payer health care system, expanding the government’s power of eminent domain, instituting same-sex marriage, and blocking photo ID requirements for voters — while giving virtually nothing to conservative candidates or causes.

The teachers argue that this violates their constitutional right to free speech. Affected teachers lose insurance benefits along with the right to vote for their union representative and contracts. They are barred from sitting on certain school committees. They also lose legal representation in employment disputes and at dismissal hearings, as well as compensation for death and dismemberment, and disaster relief. The plaintiffs in Bain are asking why teachers who pay for union representation won through collective bargaining should lose out on those benefits simply because they refuse to pay for the union’s political campaigns.

That question has generated a great number of half-truths, lies, and general non-answers from the media and union leaders alike. For example, EdSource’s John Fensterwald wrote, “Both the CTA and CFT are obligated to negotiate contracts dealing with pay, benefits and working conditions on behalf of union and non-union teachers.” That’s true; all teachers do become “bargaining unit members,” but only because the unions insist on exclusive representation. The unions would have a better case if they would forego their monopoly status and free dissenting teachers to negotiate their own contracts. A Los Angeles Times editorial claimed the case at its core represents “an attack on the power of any public employee union to engage in politics.” Nonsense. If Bain is successful, unions would remain free to “engage in politics”; they would simply have fewer coerced dollars to spend. Alice O’Brien, general counsel for the NEA, said in a statement, “The Bain lawsuit attacks the right of a membership organization to restrict the benefits of membership to those who actually pay dues.” More nonsense. The teacher-plaintiffs are all dues payers and would remain dues payers if their case is successful.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the teachers in the Friedrichs case, it’s unclear what may become of Bain. The two cases have a key difference: Friedrichs claims that all union spending is political, and therefore non-member teachers should not be forced to contribute any dues at all. Bain would help teachers who want union benefits but don’t care for union politics. A favorable outcome in Bain could lead to a more flexible membership scenario, whereby teachers could still be union members, with all the benefits of membership, but not be forced to pay for what has been traditionally regarded as political spending. In any event, the teachers’ unions’ heavy-handed tactics seem to be losing force, and their days of unbridled power may be numbered. That can only be good news for those for whom the unions’ presence in education has become an albatross—teachers, kids, parents, and taxpayers alike.

Revised Estimate for K-12 Spending: $6 Billion More Next Year

Vidak_Andy_School_8x12_0164Spending for K-12 schools in the coming year will be $6 billion more than Gov. Jerry Brown proposed just five months ago, raising per-student spending $3,000 – 45 percent – from what it was four years ago, according to the revised state budget that the governor released on Thursday.

State revenues have surged this year, and K-12 schools and community colleges will haul in nearly every penny because of Proposition 98, the constitutional amendment that puts schools first in line for restoring funding when the economy rebounds after a recession.

The new level of Prop. 98 spending for K-12 schools and community colleges will be $68.4 billion in 2015-16. That is $7.5 billion more than the Legislature appropriated last June for the current year. Surging revenues, which are projected to continue into next year, will bring the total increase for schools next year to nearly $14 billion in Prop. 98 spending (see pages 13-22 of state budget summary).

But warning that “the reality is another recession is coming,” Brown is splitting the increase between ongoing spending, one-time expenditures and paying off debts.

Local Control Funding: The Local Control Funding Formula, which provides general spending to schools, will remain his top priority. It will get $6.1 billion more next year, or about $1,000 more per student on average, with districts with higher proportions of English language learners and low-income children receiving more.

Paying off mandates: About $3.5 billion ($2.4 billion more than in the January budget) will pay for unreimbursed mandated expenses. Districts and county offices of education can use this money however they want, although the governor is encouraging them to spend it on implementing the new Common Core and science standards.

“I think there’s an expectation and hope that it will be put into Common Core implementation,” said David Plank, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, a research center based at Stanford University, “Common Core is hard work and the money, I think, will be greatly received and put to good use.”

But Education Trust-West, an advocacy group for low-income and minority students, criticized Brown for not requiring districts to use the money for Common Core. “Districts will be pressured to use these funds for many other competing priorities,” it said in a statement. “We missed an opportunity to ensure our state standards will truly make a difference for all of our students.”

Special education: The Statewide Special Education Task Force, a group convened in 2013 to propose improvements to special education in California, received recognition in the revised budget – and $60 million for some of the actions it recommended. This includes  $50 million in ongoing funding and $10 million in one-time funding to expand interventions for special-needs children under two years old, add 2,500 additional preschool slots prioritized for special-needs children and expand data-driven schoolwide behavioral supports.

End of deferrals: About $1 billion will pay off the final late payments to districts, known as deferrals, which forced districts to borrow money, sometimes at high interest rates, while waiting for state funding.

Advocates for young children and the Legislative Women’s Caucus had called on Brown to provide $600 million more for child care for low-income families by shifting that expense into Prop. 98. The Legislative Analyst’s Office had suggested freeing up money for non-Prop. 98 spending by adjusting property taxes that go toward education funding.

But Michael Cohen, director of the Department of Finance, said he was “not interested in manipulating the Prop. 98 guarantee” and “plopping things into 98” to spend additional money. The department, he said, distinguished programs that qualify for education funding.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee’s education subcommittee, said that she shares the “strong sentiment” to include more money for child care in Prop. 98, where that funding was included until it was shifted in 2010-11. The issue will be negotiated with the administration, she said.


Education groups generally had high praise for the revised budget. Plank called it a “spectacularly good budget for K-12.” Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors, a lobbying firm representing school districts and county offices of education, said it was “one of the best budgets for K-12 I have ever seen. It has fully discretionary money with no strings attached. That normally doesn’t happen.”

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that extra revenue in the May budget revision will raise K-12 Proposition 98 funding to $9,978 per student –$656 per student higher than the inflation-adjusted, pre-recession spending level  in 2007-08. The LAO’s  estimate for 2014-15 includes one-time spending of $700 per student more than districts anticipated when they built their 2014-15 budgets; that money, totaling $4.3 billion, will be spent in 2015-16 and subsequent years. (click to enlarge.)


The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that extra revenue in the May budget revision will raise K-12 Proposition 98 funding to $9,978 per student –$656 per student higher than the inflation-adjusted, pre-recession spending level in 2007-08. The LAO’s estimate for 2014-15 includes one-time spending of $700 per student more than districts anticipated when they built their 2014-15 budgets; that money, totaling $4.3 billion, will be spent in 2015-16 and subsequent years. (click to enlarge.)

Adonai Mack, legislative advocate for the Association of California School Administrators, said his organization agrees with Brown’s priorities and appreciates that the governor didn’t permit other programs to encroach on Prop. 98 spending. “It’s a very good budget for public education,” he said.

Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said the budget reflected the right priorities in funding education and creating a new tax credit for low-income workers. But he added, “we have a long way to go before we restore the programs in education and social services we lost to a decade of budget cuts,” and called for making temporary taxes under Proposition 30 permanent.

Double-digit spending increases for schools is not expected to continue past next year. State revenues are expected to flatten with the expiration of temporary increases in the state sales tax and the income tax on the wealthiest 1 percent. And the portion of the revenue going to K-12 schools and community colleges will decline after next year to about the standard 40 percent of the general budget after past obligations to Prop. 98 are fully paid off. Called the maintenance factor, it was as high as $11 billion as a result of cuts made during the recession, but will be under $800 million after next year.

The new Prop. 98 numbers will ease anxiety in Los Angeles Unified, whose board approved a 10 percent pay increase for teachers without knowing how the district would cover the expense. District officials said Thursday that the $300 million to $400 million in additional state money next year – half for ongoing costs and half in one-time funds – would cover the costs of teacher raises. But they said they were unsure if they can avoid teacher layoffs next school year or how they will pay for promised future raises.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that extra revenue in the May budget revision will raise K-12 Prop. 98 funding to $9,978 per student –$656 per student higher than the inflation-adjusted, pre-recession spending level in 2007-08. However, under the new funding formula, some districts with fewer English learners and low-income students are still well below that figure. And all districts will face substantial increases in pension costs for teachers, which will rise an additional $3.7 billion collectively over the next four years.

Reporters Jane Meredith Adams, Susan Frey, Michelle Maitre and Sarah Tully contributed to the coverage of the state budget.

Schools Look to Gobble Up Surging State Revenues

shocked-kid-apAs Gov. Jerry Brown prepares to release his revised state budget for the coming fiscal year next week, educators around the state are looking forward to hearing about the additional funds they will receive, a dramatic departure from the bleak years of the recession, when they braced themselves for further cuts.

Even for the state’s most experienced school finance experts, predicting how much California’s schools will get in new revenues is a next to impossible task.

This year the task is especially challenging because of the unanticipated interplay between two voter-approved initiatives – Proposition 98, approved by voters in 1988, and Proposition 2, championed by Brown and approved by voters just last November – on top of many unknowns about how much tax revenue the state will generate from a variety of sources.

One thing is clear: Schools and community colleges will be the big – and possibly only – winners when it comes to dividing up the extra revenues.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office and others estimate that California’s surging economy could generate between $4 and $8 billion more than the state had projected.

“Schools are the big winner,” Mac Taylor, the state’s legislative analyst, said at EdSource’s 2015 symposium, held last week in Sacramento in collaboration with the California State PTA.

The additional funds will arrive at a welcome time for schools, which are still digging out from the impact of deep cuts made during the recession. Schools are also implementing a range of reforms, including the Common Core State Standards and the Local Control Funding Formula, which prescribes eight priority areas in which school districts are expected to show improvement.

Complicating how the new revenues will be allocated is the unanticipated interplay of Prop. 98 and Prop. 2, which could result in all non-education social services and state government departments winding up with little additional money or none at all.

That’s because Prop. 98, setting the minimum levels of school funding, requires that the state’s first priority in revenue-rich years is to bring funding levels for schools and community colleges up to the level they would have enjoyed if there had not been a recession. That amount, called the “maintenance factor,” currently totals $2.6 billion.

Prop. 2, meanwhile, mandates that the state set aside the first 1.5 percent of state revenue, plus additional dollars when the state is flush with tax receipts from capital gains, to pay down state debt and build a rainy-day fund. Money for Prop. 2 would be diverted from funding for non-education programs and services.

“It is a very unusual situation for my bosses – the members of the Legislature and the governor – that they may have to deal with this very strange world,” Taylor said. “They will have to take some actions to balance all the competing demands.”

Under one possible scenario that Taylor and the LAO laid out, the non-Prop. 98 side of the budget could receive $1 billion less next year than they got this year, possibly even requiring spending cuts that would put the Legislature in a bind and pit school advocates against a range of other interest groups. Taylor said programs subject to cuts could range from health and social services to higher education and criminal justice programs.

“There are many scenarios where the bottom line will be worse, where the Legislature will have to act to bring the budget in balance,” Taylor said.

Mike Herald, legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Sacramento, said he expected legislators would find it “unpalatable” to reduce funding for human services in a year where there is going to be a substantial surplus. “It’s hard to explain to disabled adults surviving at poverty levels on Supplemental Security Income that they can’t get any increases for food when there are billions of dollars more in state revenue,” Herald said.

Brown’s budget for next year, which he proposed in January, assumed $7.8 billion more from Prop. 98 through a combination of increased state and property tax revenues for 2014-15 and 2015-16. About $4 billion of that will go toward ongoing funding for the Local Control Funding Formula, which provides extra money to school districts with high numbers of low-income children, foster youth and English learners.

“That is an enormous amount of new money in a relatively short period of time,” Taylor pointed out.

But school districts also face rising expenses, including increases in pension obligations for teachers and administrators that will be phased in, reaching $3.7 billion more per year by 2020-21.

Taylor noted that despite the massive inflow of funds to the schools in inflation-adjusted dollars, schools will only receive on average about $200 more per student than they did in the  2007-08 school year, when funding peaked.

“But if you think about what we went through, the worst recession in decades, the fact that we have bounced back and are above where we were at the beginning of the Great Recession, that is not bad,” he said.

Louis Freedberg is the executive director at EdSource. Email him or Follow him on Twitter.

John Fensterwald covers education policy.

This piece was originally published by EdSource

Half of Juniors Opt Out of Common Core Tests in Affluent High School

More than half of the 11th graders at an affluent high school in Los Angeles County are opting out of new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards – an ever-growing issue nationwide, but rare so far in California.

Parents in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District are citing concerns about privacy over children’s data and the relevance of the Smarter Balanced Assessments that millions of California students are taking this spring as reasons for opting out.

At Palos Verdes High School, 260 of the school’s roughly 460 juniors are skipping the tests that began last week and are continuing this week, Superintendent Don Austin said. Elsewhere in the 11,600-student district, an additional 222 students are sitting out of the tests in a different high school, as well as intermediate and elementary schools.

“We think it’s fantastic,” said parent Barry Yudess, who leads RestorePVEducation, a parent watchdog group that opposes the Common Core tests.

The state has yet to track this year’s numbers of students who are opting out of the exams, which is allowed under California law. School districts will submit the opt-out reports after testing is completed by June and statewide numbers likely will be available in the fall.

But this is the highest number of opt-outs that California Department of Education officials had heard of so far, said Pam Slater, a department spokeswoman. Smarter Balanced testing began in March, with roughly half of the state’s 3.2 million students taking it so far.

Compared to several other states, California has not been a breeding ground for opposition to the  Common Core standards, the new academic standards adopted by California and 42 other states.

For example, in six large school districts where EdSource is tracking implementation of the Common Core, school superintendents indicated that there has been relatively little opposition and no greater number of parent requests to opt out of standardized testing than in previous years.

In several states, students have opted out in far larger numbers or even walked out of Common Core-aligned tests. In New York, some schools have reported between 60 and 70 percent of students skipping the tests.

On the Palos Verdes peninsula, the district sits along the ocean, with average home prices of $1.5 million, and enrolls just 3 percent of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch.

The RestorePVEducation group got the word out by sponsoring forums with Common Core opponents, putting up a YouTube channel, setting up a Facebook page and sending out emails. But the most effective method likely was handing out fliers and opt-out forms outside of schools, Yudess said.

Yudess and Joan Davidson, a grandmother and another group leader, said they have concerns about the privacy of the data being collected electronically through the tests.

“There really is no good reason to take the test,” said Kimberly Ramsay, the parent of a 7th grader and a senior.

The school district’s website boasts that 98 percent of its graduates enroll in college, so that some parents and students are questioning the relevance of taking a test they don’t see as related to achieving that goal.

“It’s ridiculous,” Yudess said. “They don’t want their time wasted. They are looking at going to top colleges. They are thinking, ‘Why waste my time, taking this meaningless test?’”

School superintendent Austin said he believes most parents decided to opt out their 11th graders after Common Core opponents put fliers on cars, stating that the students could spend more time studying for Advanced Placement tests that students can take for college credit.

During testing weeks, teachers are dividing students by those taking the test and those who are not, and supervising the students who opted out, Austin said.

Austin said he has tried to get answers from the state about the consequences of failing to have enough students take the tests in certain schools. Under the federal No Child Law Behind law, 95 percent of students in certain grades are expected to take annual standardized tests. If they don’t, they are labeled as failing to make “Adequate Yearly Progress,” or AYP. Austin said he was unsure how many of his campuses would end up falling below the 95 percent mark until the Smarter Balanced testing is complete.

But there would be no financial consequences. Only schools that receive money for low-income students, called Title 1 funds, might be affected. Palos Verdes is not one of those schools.

Also, high school students might be unable to use their Smarter Balanced scores when applying to California State University campuses and other colleges to prove that they don’t need remedial courses. But there are other ways for students to demonstrate that that they do not need to take remedial classes.

Last week at the Education Writers Association meetings in Chicago, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was asked what would happen to states if  large numbers of students did not take the tests. He said that he expected that states would make sure that they did. “If states don’t do that, then we have an obligation to step in,” he said, without detailing any specific actions.

Austin said he has been unable to get good answers about what the consequences will be for his district as a result of  children opting out of the standardized tests. “This is a very, very sophisticated community. They are asking the right questions. Our inability to answer those questions is only adding fuel to the fire,” Austin said. “I do think without some accurate information quickly, it’s only going to get worse and we’re going to end up being a model for the state.”

Originally published by EdSource. 

Louis Freedberg contributed to this story.

Common Core tests well under way

Common Core student testWith less than two months of instruction time left before summer vacation for most California schools, roughly half of the 3.2 million students expected to take the first online tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards have begun to do so, the California Department of Education reported Monday.

“From what we understand, things are going well,” said department spokeswoman Pam Slater. “We haven’t had a lot of reports of computer malfunctions and we’re happy with results so far.”

The computer-based tests, known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, are replacing the multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper California Standards Tests that students had been taking since 1998.

School districts began administering the tests on March 10, with testing windows varying widely among different districts, depending on their instructional calendars. Most districts will complete testing by mid-June, although a small number of California schools that offer year-long instruction will be giving the tests up until Aug. 31.

The assessments, in math and English Language Arts, are being given to students in grades 3 through 8 and 11. The test developer, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, has estimated the tests will take students between seven and eight-and-a-half hours to complete, but it is up to the schools to decide precisely how to schedule the assessments. Slater has said that in most cases students are taking the tests over several days, in blocks of time as short as 30 minutes to an hour.

Of the more than 1.6 million students who have embarked on the tests to date, 573,299 have so far completed the tests in English language arts and literacy, and 366,794 have finished the tests in math.

“We think this is a really big week for the testing, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the system,” said Cindy Kazanis, the state’s director for educational data management.

At the peak so far, 287,778 students were online at the same time, with no interruption in the state system monitoring results, Kazanis said. She expected that number to increase this week, but said she was confident that districts will avoid major problems.

“We’re not getting any panicked calls that this isn’t working,” she said.

Originally published by EdSource.